pruning pinyon pines with presumed Ips beetle infestation

Asked March 21, 2020, 2:52 PM EDT

We have been in the process of removing Ips beetle infected pinyon pines from our property in Glade Park, CO. Some trees appear very healthy except for a limb or two. Is it possible that a tree may survive if we remove infected limbs (that have a few cinnamon colored pitch tubes) and cover the scar with some kind of material that would not be attractant to beetles in the area? In short, can you "save a tree" by pruning, and if so, are there best practice recommendations? Thank you, Ben and Terri

Mesa County Colorado

1 Response

We are at the borderline time of pruning for such issues. I would remove the bad limbs, it is possible you have twig borer in those trees and not the ips that attracts the trunk. We are seeing both insects. Chip, bury or burn the branches.
I would NOT use any kind of sealant as there do not help with healing, in fact could hold in moisture leading to rot. No research at sealing to keep the ips away. I would spray any trees that are especially important to you, as it is not economical to spray all, with Permethrin 38. It is available at hardware stores and garden centers. And do this 3 times per the factsheet and our local entomologist (spring, summer, fall) at the bottom. https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/pinyon-pine-diseases-and-insects-2-948/
https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/ips-beetles-5-558/
Also, water any trees again that are of high value making sure to water out at least twice the height of the tree, and a good deep soak down 12-18". Do this once a month or more depending on drought and soils.